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31% rise in female-owned small businesses in 2019 sees gender gap shrink

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31% rise in female-owned small businesses in 2019 sees gender gap shrink
Lauren Hellicar

Lauren Hellicar

11 March 2020

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To mark International Women’s Day 2020, Simply Business delved into its data on UK small businesses to gauge the gender gap in the sector – and we can reveal it's getting narrower.

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Analysing more than 1.4 million small businesses, the numbers show a sharp rise in female owners of SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) in 2019. The 31 per cent surge stands in contrast to only a 21 per cent rise in small businesses owned by men during the same year.

Bea Montoya, Chief Operating Officer at Simply Business, commented: “International Women’s Day is hugely important in celebrating and recognising women all around the world. And with this in mind, it’s fantastic to see more women than ever before taking the leap into small business – whether that’s turning a hobby into a livelihood, or using years of professional experience to go it alone.”

Narrowing the small business gender gap

The number of small businesses owned by men remains higher than those owned by their female counterparts. However, digging deeper into the data, we can reveal that from 2016 to 2019 there was a consistent year-on-year increase in female-owned small businesses. The total is equal to a rise of 58 per cent overall over the four-year period.

Montoya added: “We’re seeing that the number of female-owned small businesses is growing at a faster rate than those owned by men. And given the number continues to rise consistently year-on-year, we can only expect this to continue into 2020 and beyond.”

International Women's Day 2020

The International Women’s Day theme this year was #EachforEqual, with the campaign’s official website calling on us all to “build a gender equal world.”

It goes on to say: “Equality is not a women's issue, it's a business issue. Gender equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive.”

Do you agree that equality is good for business and communities? Let us know in the comments section.

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© Copyright 2020 Simply Business. All Rights Reserved. Simply Business is a trading name of Xbridge Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Registration No: 313348). Xbridge Limited (No: 3967717) has its registered office at 6th Floor, 99 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7NG.